BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana is going all out to increase attendance at football games.
Hoosiers athletic director Fred Glass on Monday outlined a package of changes school officials hope will create a better game-day experience for the crowd. The two most notable alterations will be the addition of the USS Indiana's prow outside the stadium and the addition of a 154-foot flagpole that surpasses Ohio State's 146-footer as the tallest in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Glass calls it a fitting tribute for Indiana's Memorial Stadium.
"The flag will go up as we sing the National Anthem," Glass said. "And when we win, we will hoist the victory flag on it."
But it will take more than fresh looks to win over fans at a program that has traditionally ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in attendance.
So Glass intends to make sure everybody outside the stadium is aware of what's going on inside.
Fireworks will go off about 15 minutes before opening kickoff and again at the start of the second half, a reminder for fans to take their seats. When the Hoosiers run onto the field, they will run through a smoke screen and will be welcomed by loud booms. When Indiana scores, fans will hear the sound of a cannon nicknamed "Big Jake" being fired.
Indiana will illuminate the north end zone in red spotlights after victories, has installed flat-screen televisions around the concourse and upgraded its cellphone reception. The school also has expanded the security command center in the press box to help with emergencies.
All of these modifications were part of a months-long discussion about how to make Memorial Stadium a more fan-friendly environment.
"We're battling against fans watching the games at home, and people are feeling that around the country," Glass said. "So I think one of the things we need to do is make the experience as desirable as possible to give you some things that you don't get to see at home."